Why 5G Network Slicing Matters for IoT Applications
Meanwhile, network slicing also will emerge into a 5G world in which the location of mobile network core and edge become more fluid concepts. With IoT, more computing and analysis of data may be performed in edge devices, edge clouds or at mobile network towers. Also, Ericsson’s Linder noted that base stations are evolving from one physical unit to a separation of radios from the baseband component, with radios being distributed closer to the user, further redefining the edge.
“We’re pushing the edge further and further out into the network,” he said. “The network edge may be in different places. Today you have everything go from a radio to a core network side that is very centralized. So, if you have 50,000 radios in the network, you may have 50 core sites, so one core site serving 1,000 radios.” As network slicing comes into play in such fluid architectures, operators will need to decide the best place to deploy network functionality for processing different applications, he added.
For now, network slicing remains more concept the practice. How quickly it becomes a common aspect of network architectures is the prerogative of mobile network operators. Gartner said enterprises wanting to take advantage of 5G performance and latency for IoT might be able to do so sooner if they commission the construction of 5G private networks from technology vendors or network operators. However, private networks also would be expensive and hard to manage if enterprises do so themselves, and may require spectrum licenses. Also, they probably would be most applicable to campus environments where IoT traffic and applications aren’t distributed over wide areas. For enterprises looking for a broader scope solution, network slicing could be the best option, but how long will they have to wait for it?